Proposed amendments to KP’s RTI law opposed

Representatives of NGOs strongly opposed the proposed amendments to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Right to Information Ordinance 2013 through which the provincial assembly has been exempted from accessing to basic information. Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club, the Executive Director of Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA), Zahoor Khan said that the proposed amendments would exempt the provincial assembly from accessing basic information under the RTI Law, in addition to Peshawar High Court, which has already been exempted.

Furthermore, he said that the proposed amendments restricted the use of information for sharing through media. CGPA termed these amendments unwarranted and against the norms of right to information. "These amendments will make the RTI law useless for promoting transparency and accountability," Zahoor Khan said. He stated that the RTI Ordinance 2013 was promulgated on August 13, 2013. As per Article 128 of Constitution of Pakistan, the ordinance will complete its 90-day life on November 10, which means if the RTI Ordinance is not extended for another 120 days or legislated through a majority vote by KP provincial assembly, there will be no RTI law in KP on November 11, 2013.

Zahid Abdullah, Co-ordinator of Coalition on Right to Information, (a coalition of 22 civil society organizations working on RTI) also demanded that the process of requesting information should be kept simple and those seeking information should not be asked to show the reason behind their requests.